It may just be obligatory to go to Roswell if you ever wind up in New Mexico, so we made the extra drive to see the infamous city. Yes, Roswell definitely has a whole lot of UFO and alien themed establishments like restaurants, laundromats, gift shops, and a UFO Museum, but it also has a nice downtown and an absolutely amazing cultural and historical museum.
But if you go to Roswell where are you going to start. The International UFO Museum And Research Center is situated in an old movie theater and was founded in 1991. It has a huge library for research, which was surprisingly thorough and well curated. The museum mainly focuses on the Roswell Incident of 1947 but has lots of exhibits on other incidents as well. There are photographs of possible sightings as well as photos of debunked fake photos to compare, snippets from newspapers at the time, and an example of Mayan art said to depict an ancient astronaut.
I’m not going to say a lot about the mandatory viewing of the movie but I will say we followed The Oscar Rule and the movie was watched. However, with such an incredibly poor movie, cheesy displays of flying saucers and typical green aliens, and lack of consistency in presentation of fact and hyperbole, it’s hard to take the museum too seriously.
After the UFO Museum we went to The Roswell Museum and Art Center. The museum is really three museums in one. There is a collection of fine art, an amazing collection of historical artifacts from the American West, and the scientific equipment of Robert H. Goddard. (You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know who he is.)
Robert Goddard is known as the “Father of Rocketry in the United States.” With his improvements in liquid propelled rockets, he was a pioneer of his day, pressing the advancement of rocketry for both military purposes and space exploration. The Robert Goddard exhibit was all of his tools, instruments and working laboratory reconstructed in the museum.
Another very impressive exhibit was West of Beyond: the Rogers & Mary Ellen Aston Collection of the American West, which is comprised of more than 2,000 artifacts and works of art. The exhibit is arranged into five topical themes that stress cultural change and interaction over time: Family and Community, Spirit, Farming and Ranching, Trade and Exchange, and War and Conquest.
There was also an exhibit the dealt with the issues of building border walls, and how it would effect local and native communities, as well as wildlife. This has been a highly debated issue for generations, and remains very poignant today.
The Museum is also used for community gatherings and open town hall meetings, and one was about to come underway, so we had to make our exit.